A Rajni movie has always been exceptional. The story, the style…if not that, then the hype surrounding it…if not that either, then the expectations…and if nothing else, then just the fan frenzy. Of late, stars like Ajith and Vijay have been coming in on their own, with the frenzy rivalling that of the ‘Thalaivar’. However, on the opening day of a Rajini movie, the atmosphere is something else. Will the director deliver? Will the movie speak of Rajini’s political ambitions? Will the collections cross that of Vijay’s latest?
Rajini’s partnership with PA Ranjith marks a distinct step in both their careers. Suddenly, we find a more mature, a subtler superstar, who seems as if he is cast into the director’s mould, rather than the other way around, as is usually the case. PA Ranjith isn’t in awe of Rajini, rather, he brings out certain facets of Rajini the actor, that had got lost along the way. After Kabali, Kaala is a bigger step in this direction.
Is the movie political? Hell yes. But is it Rajini’s politics…err..maybe yes, maybe not. Kaala revels in the dark side, and is well contrasted against the ‘white and pure’ Nana Patekar.
The character asks many uncomfortable questions, both literally and figuratively. Is black necessarily bad? Is white always ‘sacred’? Are people living in slums criminals, uncouth and fair game?
Kaala opens with a sense of urgency – so much that the traditional ‘Super Star Rajini’ bit doesn’t even have its own music – it blends into the narrative. Kaala’s introduction is also Kabaliisque – very low key. However, give him a challenge and vintage Rajini comes back – the slow motion, the style, the whistle-worthy moments. However, these too flow into the story, and don’t stand out like a deification exercise. The Rajini of PA Ranjith variety has a supporting cast that does much more than just fill in the spaces. Each actor plays a part, has a character, and flows along with the protagonist, rather than prop him up. A special mention on how the director treats relationships – both Kabali and Kaala have beautiful characterisation when it comes to their better half.
So how was the movie overall?
Well, let me put it this way. Kaala has the Rajini that you were screaming for post Linga. It has the Rajini who still has his whistle-worthy bits, but who settles into a story that isn’t about him all the time. It showcases his acting – his pauses, his expressions that went missing while he went cigarette-tossing and sunglasses-whirling. But most of all, it has a climax that is arguably one of the best ones I’ve seen on screen – and surely the best in a Rajini movie. Saying more would give the plot away, but rest assured, the director leaves the audience with a smile on their faces, and a warmth in their hearts. And it doesn’t depend on Rajini beating up the baddies, no, not at all.
It beautifully brings out a rainbow of colours, both on screen and in your heart…which then blend into each other leaving you with just one dominant colour (that isn’t bad unlike its usual connotation)…KAALA.